Broken Smile

It is 4:30 am and I have finally managed to finish the essay I have been writing for weeks. (Well, I’ll sort out the bibliography in the morning but the rest of it is done.)

This past week the blog has been incredibly busy, peaking at 115 hits in one day and that’s mainly thanks to  Kate Feld at The Manchizzle (http://www.manchizzle.blogspot.com – sorry I still can’t work out HTML), which the Guardian calls ‘The pick of Manchester culture and hub of blogging goodness’.  Thank you Kate for recommending me! In the past week, so many people have been in touch and told me they enjoy the blog, which is a massive boost to my confidence.

My Shitty Twenties started off as a tentative dip in the bleak blogging waters, but a few very good friends encouraged me to go public with it. I felt a bit shy because I didn’t think people would want to read about me and my son. I still wanted to get a message across though, a message that life doesn’t end with parenthood, no matter how unexpected it is or how far away it is from the ideal.

The essay I wrote tonight involved a great deal of feminist theory and one article I had to read for it was Toril Moi’s I Am Not a Woman Writer (Feminist Theory vol.9 (3) http://fty.sagepub.com). In it she writes:

A novel or a poem or a play, or a theoretical essay for that matter, is an attempt to make others see something that really matters to the writer. Inspired by the American philosopher Stanley Cavell, I want to say that when a writer presents a work, she is really saying: This is what I see. Can you see it too?’ In this gesture there is a hope – not certainty – that perhaps others may come to share her vision, if only for a moment.

This hope makes a writer vulnerable. She has to be willing to say what she sees, to stake everything on her vision without any guarantee that she will be understood. To write is to risk rejection and misunderstanding. To create a work of art, says Sartre, is to give the world a gift nobody has asked for. But if we do not dare to be generous, if we don’t dare to share with others what we see, the world will be the pooerer for it. And sometimes someone actually does get it. When a reader feels that a book really speaks to her, she feels less lonely in the world. Literature holds out the hope of overcoming scepticism and isolation.

The same rule, I would say, applies to the art of blogging. I am glad I dared to share.

And now I need to get some sleep as in the morning I have to deal with a poorly son who is complaining, amongst other things, of a ‘broken smile’ (chapped lips.)

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